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Old 02-23-2006, 08:42 PM   #1
Topcat
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Default Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

I received this Abit KT7R a couple days ago, and before I got it out of the box, I could smell that nasty stale-ness that's always present on a piece of hardware that comes from the home/business of a smoker. Some are more mild than others, but this was a bad one.... The stench almost made me gag, and the board was sticky to the touch (almost didn't want to handle it). I put it on the test bench to see what it would even do before recapping it. I fired it up, it POST'ed, counted 319mb of RAM (out of 512mb), started to boot into my diagnostics, and froze up. The freeze was most likely the bad caps, however, why 319mb of RAM>!??!? LOL They're Crucial DIMM's, so its highly unlikely they're bad. I removed the DIMM's from the slots, and they were caked with nicotine crud, badly! I stuck a 256mb stick of my own RAM in, and it counted 192... I know for sure that stick is good, so this board left me no alternative...............Hotwash in the deep sink!!!

If any customers see this and wondered why their extremely disgusting board came back looking brand new, this is how it's done. I normally don't divulge this secret, as most don't realize its not harmful if its done right, they just panic and think their board will melt when wet.... 99% of the boards I get for repair do not get this done to them, a blast with the air compressor and dust brush and they're good to go. There's the remaining 1% (like the one demonstrated below) that need far more detailed cleanings. I thought this would make an interesting writeup for those out there that want their boards looking good again, especially those with windowed cases.......

Anyway, here it is:

Things you will need for this:
1) Deep sink or any sink the board can sit flat in
2) Mean Green available at any Dollar General store(Mean Green works the best) or Simple Green.
3) Hot water. Cold water isnt as effective.
4) Air compressor
5) Box fan or similar source of moving air (I use a heat register in my house or shop).

BEFORE:
Owner is obviously a heavy smoker. The pics don't bring out how foul this board really is, but it is absolutely AWFUL! You will note the brown scum on the DIMM holders, CPU socket, PCI slots, and just about any white surface on the board.





-------------------------------------

MAKE SURE the CMOS battery has been removed before doing this!!!!! VERY IMPORTANT!!
Remove all perifs, CPU, RAM, and CMOS battery. You can also wash the CPU, cards, and memory, just do them separately.

Spray the board down good with Mean Green on both sides, making sure everything gets coated good. If your board is really foul like the one I received, you can hold it up and watch the nicotine just drip off it.....



Let it sit for a few minutes, then turn the hot water on it to rinse it off.



If you see spots that are still stained, wash it again and scrub it with a toothbrush if you need to.

-----------------------------------

To dry it:
Let it drip dry for about 30 minutes. Then you need to take your air compressor and blow out every crevise of the board. This includes under all the chips, under and inside all slots. These include CPU socket, PCI, memory, AGP, BIOS ROM, northbridge, southbridge, VRM(s), FET's, caps, and anything that could hold water under it.

Final drying phase: (VERY IMPORTANT)
I've fired up boards I washed only 5 hours after washing, and not had any issues with them. I definitely don't recommend doing it that soon!! Place the board in front of a fan. I always put it by a furnace heat register. In the summer, I place it in front of a box fan. Let it slow dry overnight just to be sure.





Of course, I now have to recap this one.... However, just to illustrate my point, I fired it up, and all the memory showed up, and it actually booted just fine. If you smoke, go outside with it!! Nicotine is even more harsh on your optical drives!!
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Last edited by Topcat; 02-23-2006 at 08:50 PM..
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:37 AM   #2
arneson
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Marleboro Man with ashtray next to intake fan.
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Nice advice, TC! Glad my mom doesn't smoke anymore. YECCH!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Quote:
Marleboro Man with ashtray next to intake fan.
thats gotta be the one. looks like poor or no exhaust fan also.

thanks for the howto. I didnt know that was possible. is it ok to do that with a nintendo ds or not?
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

It's OK with anything as long as:
- you remove ALL batteries
- it's completely dry before powering on - be careful as the water can be under chips even when everything looks dry
I've read about washing an oscilloscope somewhere
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

i did that to a p2b-ds in a friends computer.
bad caps and nicotine sludge.
opticals were shot.
his wife smokes like a chimney
washed the case with castrol super clean and a garden hose.
psu was cheap so shitcanned it and reversed all the fans so the intake was not at the front bottom next to the ashtray!
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by willawake
thanks for the howto. I didnt know that was possible. is it ok to do that with a nintendo ds or not?
Yes you can. Like I've stated and Rainbow said, make sure its completely dry before powering it up.

Back in the days when I owned a TV service center, I've gotten some really flunky TV's in for repair. I'm sure KC8 can attest to this one, when a TV comes in with a funny smell, you open it, and its packed full of roaches............ I'd take those outside IMMEDIATELY (didn't want my shop infested with roaches), I'd drench it in Mean Green, and then take a garden hose to it........ After drying out, they'd work just fine!
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Old 02-24-2006, 08:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

I've tried something a bit different with Toshiba 24x CD-ROM drive (1997). This type of drives is known to stop working sometimes - spins up the CD and then stops and LED remains on to indicate a failure. Cleaning the lens usually helps. But this time, it did not help. The drive acted as if there was no CD inside. So I removed the laser head and sprayed isopropyl alcohol through all holes into it. Then put in front of a fan to dry. After assembling, it worked fine again
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat
Yes you can. Like I've stated and Rainbow said, make sure its completely dry before powering it up.

Back in the days when I owned a TV service center, I've gotten some really flunky TV's in for repair. I'm sure KC8 can attest to this one, when a TV comes in with a funny smell, you open it, and its packed full of roaches............ I'd take those outside IMMEDIATELY (didn't want my shop infested with roaches), I'd drench it in Mean Green, and then take a garden hose to it........ After drying out, they'd work just fine!
vcr's and cable boxes are the worst for roaches.
always warm.
we had a roachputer in the shop last week.customer came in a few days after it was left inquiring about its status.
its being debugged.showed him his pc in a bag labeled ROACHES.
he wasnt too happy.we werent either.i saw one crawl out of a drive opening and trot across the workorder.BAG! RAID! NOW!!!!!
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

I had a board like that, I doused it with "Chemtronics Electro-wash" and let is soak for a while.

To dry it I then heated it in the oven on "Warm/Low"... many mainboard manufacturers have burn in procedures like this anyway...


POSTed without any problems, later I sold it.
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

When I worked at Delta, I received a batch of 18 failed P/Ss from Amax, who complained of a high failure rate. At least a dozen of them had roaches or parts of roaches fried onto the PCB in the 300VDC area at the I/P side. After e-mails to China and Amax, it was learned that they all came from the same end user, who had a roach infestation.
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Old 02-24-2006, 02:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

>is it ok to do that with a nintendo ds or not?
probably not, casing traps water. Maybe with its circuit boards tho.
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Old 02-24-2006, 05:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

I'll never forget spraying a roach once. It ran behind a machine and I had never seen one befoe.
So I quick got a can and sprayed back there,,, I disturbed a nest of large flying roaches that came out like a roaring cloud.
This happened in an Officer's club dinning room. It's only funny twenty years later.
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Old 02-24-2006, 06:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat
2) Mean Green available at any Dollar General store(Mean Green works the best) or Simple Green.
Hey guys. I'm trying to work out what "Mean/Simple Green" is similar to here in Aus.
What are the ingredients/components of the product, so I can find a similar cleaning agent here for others to refer/compare to.
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Old 02-24-2006, 08:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Pine Sol?
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Old 02-25-2006, 12:23 AM   #16
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

I've never done anything like this, and I'm no expert, but I read that it was necessary to do a final rinse with distilled water or something like Chem-wash to prevent any contacts from gradually corroding. True or not?
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Old 02-25-2006, 01:59 AM   #17
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

I did some temp work doing mods on boards that had surface mount components. We used water-based flux exclusively. Once you're done soldering, just run it under warm water and scrub it with a tooth brush. Then put them in front of heater fans for the night. I did it at work here the other day and one of the other techs (older guy) thought I was nuts. Funny how some people freak when you put water on a circuit board.

cods69 - you should be able to get Simple Green there. I seem to remember seeing it when I was around Williamtown, NSW.
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Old 02-25-2006, 07:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Simple Green contains Butyl Cellosolve (2-butoxyethanol) and it smells somewhat like rootbeer because of the solvent.

http://facilities.uoregon.edu/custod...implegreen.pdf
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Old 02-27-2006, 06:11 AM   #19
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Thanks guys.
I'll post back when I find it in the shops/hardware, so others (Aussies) can find it.
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Old 02-28-2006, 03:12 AM   #20
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Default Re: Cleaning Motherboards - ATTN SMOKERS!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by larrymoencurly
I've never done anything like this, and I'm no expert, but I read that it was necessary to do a final rinse with distilled water or something like Chem-wash to prevent any contacts from gradually corroding. True or not?
Mean Green and SImple Green are non-corrosive as far as I know. I've got some hardware I've washed years ago, and there's no signs of corrosion. However, definitely make sure that it's rinsed very thoroughly and dried as quickly as possible. Don't allow the cleaning agent to dry on the board, it can leave residue that could possibly lead to contacts becoming open. That's a rare chance/possibility, but why risk it... This is just an old electronics tech tip that's been around for ages, and I thought I'd pass it along, as it seems not many know about it these days. If you have a board you plan to resell (especially on Ebay), making it look new in those closeup pics helps bring top dollar for your item.
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